Agreste, the bureau for statistics of the French Ministry of Food and Agriculture, has published a note of conjuncture for the French peach.
“As of July 1st 2021, the French peach production is down by 30% compared to 2020 and 37% compared to the average, as a result of the historic frost that affected all regions this spring. It will be the lowest production since 1975. The Rhône corridor was the most affected. The limited supply keeps prices up and higher than in previous years.
Decline in production in 2021
According to the predictions on July 1st 2021, the annual production of peaches and nectarines is now higher than in the previous forecast (126,000 tons). Nevertheless, it is down by 30% compared to the 2020 production and 37% compared to the 2016-2020 average. It could be the lowest production in 46 years. The frost affected all producing regions, especially the Rhône Valley. Nectarines will suffer more than peaches.
In Languedoc and Roussillon, the production predictions are also higher than in the previous forecast. The consequences of the frost were less severe than initially expected. The Roussillon productions were relatively spared.
In Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, the frost caused significant damage in the Vaucluse where the vegetation was early. In May, the frequent storms caused physiological falls.
In the Rhône Valley, the frost was historic, in intensity (down to -10°C) and in length. There are not many fruits on the trees. Calibers are relatively large on the spared farms but less than half a harvest is expected.
According to MEDFEL, the 2021 European production would be the lowest in at least 30 years. The frost hit the main peach producing European countries. The Italian harvest will be very limited again this year, with 43% less than the 5-year average. Greece is expecting half of their harvest, and Spain is expecting a 25% decline compared to the average.
Limited offer in June
In June 2021, the limited offer helped keep prices high, whether the farm had been affected or not by the weather hazards. Due to the decline in production, the revenue in the Rhône Valley was down compared to last year (-2%), for the second consecutive year. In Languedoc and Roussillon, the revenue increased (+5%)
In 2020, the peach harvest was down by 10% in a year and compared to the 2015-2019 average. The most significant decline was in the Rhône Valley (-15%), as a result of the destructive frosts of March 2020, and after the decrease already observed the previous year. Between June and September 2020, peach-nectarine prices increased compared to the previous year (+14% compared to 2019), which was 22% higher than the 2015-2019 price average.
In June 2021, prices were high compared to previous years (+22% in a year, and +43% compared to the average), due to the reduced offer. The campaign started in the Roussillon, with some delay compared to 2020, followed by the Gard and the Crau. Unlike the peach, the market is dynamic for the nectarine, which benefits from promotional actions in supermarkets. The cool temperatures at the end of June slowed down the peach consumption, made of small calibers. The imports from Spain were not as high as in previous years, especially for peaches, due to the frost episodes there as well. In 2020, the revenue for French peach production was up by 3% over a year and 8% compared to the 2015-2019 average, thanks to the high prices.